By Yvette Cabrera (excerpted) –
Two years ago, Becerra housed the bureau within the state Department of Justice’s environment section and gave it a singular focus: enforcing environmental laws to protect communities disproportionately burdened by pollution and contamination. Today’s suit is just the latest in a string of actions the bureau has taken to achieve this goal across the state in recent years — and one of relatively few that has taken the form of a formal legal intervention. . .
The environmental justice bureau, a unique and possibly first-of-its-kind unit within a state department of justice, was originally launched on February 22, 2018, with four of the department’s attorneys devoted to its work full-time. Today the bureau has six attorneys with a wide range of responsibilities, including reducing residential exposure to environmental toxins, challenging efforts by the federal government to roll back environmental protections, and holding industrial facilities accountable for polluting air, water, and land in California communities.